By Carly Romano
I read this news article recently about how a group of educated women on their way to an exam were kidnapped by a group of men to be sold into the sex slave trade. To me, this is a perfect example of how the demand for sex services has gone so far beyond the willing supply to the point where women are being kidnapped off the street to be sold. If you believe that the sex industry is just harmless fun, think again. It has gone way beyond its limits to the point of torturing and enslaving human beings.
I’m sure that some of you read the above paragraph and immediately thought, “Where did this happen? Surely not in my neighborhood!” and then found out that it happened in Nigeria and that the kidnappers were a group of militants calling themselves Boko Haram. But does it truly matter where the slavery occurs? Whether it happens in your neighborhood, or across international borders, does it make the crime any less severe? It shouldn’t. And if it does, then we could all benefit from working towards erasing the boundaries that prevent us from helping our fellow human beings. Action needs to be taken in the name of a humanitarian crisis and these women need to be returned to their families. Who will answer the call?
If the incident occurred in your neighborhood and involved an organized crime ring, would you sit back and say, “It’s a terrible shame, but what can you do?” If this crime happened to your wife, daughter or sister, would you be so complacent? The fact is that slavery is happening in your country and countless women are being kidnapped from your neighborhood and enslaved in the Canadian sex industry. Just ask the over 1200 Native Canadian families who lost their women to murderers and kidnappers.
Sex slavery is rampant. It’s everywhere. It’s even in the upper-class neighbourhood you never would have suspected. Think of the foreign nannies that are sexually abused daily and can’t report it to the police. Think of the undercover brothels in your neighborhood that look like regular homes. Think of the massage parlours that pretend to offer beauty services at 3 a.m. They are in your neighborhood and traffickers are starting to realize that they don’t have to go so far afield to fill the demand for sex services. They are beginning to groom teenage daughters from malls, parks and schools. Why go across borders and risk getting caught, when you can befriend a teenage girl, get her addicted to drugs and force her into prostitution? No risk crossing borders; no transportation fees; extremely high profits; she doesn’t think of herself as a victim; and no one would recognize her if they saw her. It truly is the perfect crime.
So if you think sex slavery is not your problem, think again. It is all around you, hidden under the guise of “prostitution”. The demand for prostitution far exceeds the willing supply, so suppliers have turned to grooming and kidnapping unwilling victims. It’s wrong. It’s slavery. And it needs to be stopped.
Tell your MP that you think this should be legally considered a crime and support the Nordic Model of prostitution (criminalizing the sex buyers and the pimps, and supporting the prostitutes in exiting). In December, Parliament will make the final decision on how Canada views prostitution, so make your voice count! All it takes is for people to start noticing and show their politicians that they notice, for change to happen.
How you can help:
1) Fill out a postcard supporting the Nordic Model here.
2) Attend the Open Forum on Prostitution on May 12. A transcript of the forum will be used by Parliament in their deliberations.